Assistance Programs In the State of Illinois

 The state of Illinois has a population of 13 million with a poverty rate of a whopping 14.4%, with the poverty rate in children even higher at 19.9%. This means that there are an astounding 1.8 million people in Illinois living in poverty. Fortunately, there are numerous assistance programs available to single parents, families and individuals across the state of Illinois. This guide will list and explain all the assistance programs available in the state of Illinois.

Financial Assistance in Illinois

Many people struggle paying bills and expenses, making it even more difficult to provide the necessities for their family. Fortunately, there are a few financial assistance programs available in Illinois.

Illinois Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)

This program provides financial relief to single parents and families to help pay for expenses and bills such as food, shelter, and utilities. The amount you can receive under this program depends on your income limit in relation to the number of people living in your household.

To be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of Illinois and either be pregnant or have one or more children living in your household. To qualify for this program you must meet the income limits. To learn more and to apply check out the Illinois TANF webpage.

Illinois Homeless Prevention Program

This program general financial assistance towards things such as rental assistance, utilities assistance, and more. The financial assistance is only available to those in danger of losing their home though eviction, and foreclosure, and to those who are currently homeless. To learn more about this program and to begin the application process check out the Illinois Homeless Prevention Program Webpage.

Illinois Unemployment Insurance

This program provides financial relief in payments to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amounts you receive is based on a percentage of what you made with your most previous employer.

To qualify for this program you must be a legal resident of Illinois and have worked in the state within the past 12-18 months. You must also be actively looking for new work each week you are receiving benefits. To learn more and to apply check out the Illinois Unemployment Webpage.

Food Assistance in Illinois

Many single parents and families struggle to supply for their families with adequate food, fortunately there are a few very useful food assistance programs available in Illinois.

Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Illinois SNAP program helps low income families buy the food needed for their families to ensure good health. The food benefits are provided on a card called the Illinois Link Card, which you swipe when you are checking out with your groceries. Each month the Link Card has additional funds added to continue receiving the food assistance.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements which are based on income in relation to the number of people living in your household. Check out the Illinois SNAP webpage for a look at the income requirements, to apply, and to learn more about the program.

Illinois Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Illinois WIC program provides free nutritious, supplemental foods, nutrition education and even health care referrals to pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income. The foods provided are rich in ingredients that are important for postpartum women and young growing children. The food benefits are received on the same Illinois Link Card as the SNAP program.

In order to be eligible for this program you must meet the income requirements. To apply for this program you must contact the WIC office in your area of the state. You can use this locator to find the nearest WIC office. To learn more about this program, check out the Illinois WIC webpage.

Illinois School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Illinois school breakfast and lunch program provides children of low income household with free or very low cost breakfasts’ and lunches at school. In order for your child to be eligible for this program, you must meet the income requirements. To apply for this program you must directly contact the school that your child/children currently attend.

Medical Assistance in Illinois

Medical costs are one of the biggest and most difficult costs that people struggle to afford. Fortunately Illinois has a good medical system for adults and children.

Illinois Medicaid

Illinois Medicaid pays for many health related costs and expenses such as:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • treatments
  • vaccinations
  • procedures
  • dental care

Depending on your income not all the services will necessarily be covered in full, as you might have to pay a portion of the medical costs through co-pay. Medicaid eligibility in Illinois is based on your income levels in relation to the amount of people living in your household, and also depends on the age group you fall under. To learn more and to apply check out the Illinois Medicaid webpage.

Illinois All Kids (CHIPRA)

The Illinois All Kids program is the states health care program for children. It provides and covers all the same services as the Medicaid program except for children. It is a lot easier for children to qualify for this program then Medicaid, as the income limits are a lot lower. Depending on your income, the services will with be completely covered at no cost to you, or you might have to pay a portion. Check out the Illinois CHIPRA page to learn more and to apply.

Extended Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act

Fortunately, the state of Illinois is one of the states to adopt the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. This act lowers the income thresholds making it easier for many residents of Illinois to qualify for medical assistance. Check out this Obamacare website to learn more.

Child Care Assistance in Illinois

Child care costs can be very expensive, forcing parent to stay home and not work to care for their child. Fortunately you can find child care assistance in Illinois.

Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

This program provides low income working families with access to affordable child care, allowing the parents to remain at work. Families pay on a sliding scale based on their income and number of people living in their household. To see if you qualify, to learn more and to apply check out the Illinois CCAP webpage.

Illinois Head Start Program

This program will provide child care in a learning environment for children ages 0-5 to help enhance their development in preparation for school. This program is only available to low income families. You are eligible based on your household income compared to how many people live in your household. To learn more check out the Illinois Head Start Program webpage.

Housing Assistance In Illinois

Many single parents and families struggle to make their rent payments, which affects their children and qualify of life. Fortunately Illinois has some very useful rental and housing assistance programs available.

Illinois Low Income Public Housing Program

The Illinois Public Housing program allows low income single parents and families across the state to receive cheap rental living arrangements in dwellings owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state, whether it be an apartment, single houses or condos. Local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) receive funds from the state, and will then use the funds to provide the low income families or single parents safe and sanitary housing with greatly reduced rent payments that they can afford to pay. The eligibility for these programs is based on your income limits in relation to the number of people living in your household.

In order to apply you must contact your local Housing Agency. This list of Illinois Public Housing Agencies, provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Illinois. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.

Illinois Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Illinois Housing Choice Voucher Program makes it easier for low income single parents and families to be able to afford their housing of choice on the housing market. This program is somewhat similar to the Public Housing program except with this program you get to choose your home. Once you have chosen your home or if you already have a home you would like assistance for, the Housing Agencies provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income,meeting the income requirements. Just like the Public Housing Program, you must apply through your local Housing Agency to get started.

Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

This program assists the low income in paying with their home heating bills. Illinois has really harsh winters, so home energy costs can really add up and be difficult for the low income to pay the bills. The amount of financial relief you will get on your heating bills is based on your income in relation to the amount of people living in your household. To be eligible for this program you must meet the income requirements. Check out the Illinois LIHEAP webpage for more info and t apply.

Illinois Weatherization Assistance Program

This program aims to help low income residents of Illinois reduce their homes energy consumption by making the home more energy efficient, which will in turn reduce the cost of energy bills. Once again in order to be eligible you must meet the income guidelines. To learn more and to apply check out the Illinois Weatherization webpage.

Illinois First Time Home Buyer Programs

The state of Illinois has a few solid programs for those looking to purchase their first home.

1st Home Illinois Program

The 1st Home Illinois Program provides up to $7500 in down payment and closing cost assistance allowing individuals to be able to be accepted for their first mortgage. The program also helps to find low interest fixed rate mortgages. Check out the Illinois Housing Authority webpage for more info on first time homebuyer programs.

Transportation Assistance in Illinois

There are some cheap alternatives to cabs and you can also receive free medical transportation as explained below.

If you are part of any health insurance program in Illinois, you can receive free rides to and from any doctors appointments, tests and treatments you might have. Check out this Medical Transportation page for more information including who to contact to set up the transportation.

Uber/Lyft

Taxis fares can be quit expensive across the state and especially in Chicago. A cheaper alternative to finding cheap rides can be found by using Uber or Lyft. These driving services will take you where you need to go, as ordinary people will pick you up and take you to your designation in their own vehicle, thus allowing for cheaper fares which save you a good amount of money.

Legal Assistance in Illinois

Legal assistance is very expensive, which keeps the low income from receiving the legal help they need. Fortunately there are some free or discounted services available in Illinois.

Illinois Legal Aid Organization

This organization features several different areas of legal advice someone might need. It has a lot of information on how and where to find legal advice based your issue. Many of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and more. Check out the IllinoisLegalAid.Org to explore and learn more.

The state of Illinois and the city of Chicago do a good job providing its residents with basic necessities that the low income can struggle with. If you are ever in need refer to this guide to be guided in the right direction.

Links and Resources

Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state

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